No current imaging technology allows us to directly and without significant distortion visualize the microscopic and defining anatomical features of the human brain. Ex vivo histological techniques can yield exquisite planar images, but the cutting, mounting and staining that are required components of this type of imaging induce distortions that are different for each slice, introducing cross-slice differences that prohibit true 3D analysis. We are overcoming this issue by utilizing Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) with the goal to image whole human brain cytoarchitectural and laminar properties with potentially 3.5 µm resolution in block-face without the need for exogenous staining. From the intrinsic scattering contrast of the brain tissue, OCT gives us images that are comparable to Nissl stains, but without the distortions introduced in standard histology as the OCT images are acquired from the block face prior to slicing and thus without the need for subsequent staining and mounting. We have shown that laminar and cytoarchitectural properties of the brain can be characterized with OCT just as well as with Nissl staining. We will present our recent advances to improve the axial resolution while maintaining contrast; improvements afforded by speckle reduction procedures; and efforts to obtain quantitative maps of the optical scattering coefficient, an intrinsic property of the tissue.
David A. Boas, Hui Wang, Ender Konukoglu, Bruce Fischl, Sava Sakadzic, and Caroline V. Magnain, "Imaging human brain cyto- and myelo-architecture with quantitative OCT (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10051, Neural Imaging and Sensing, 100510C (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 30, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2254827.5371358588001.
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